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    Infura now Collects MetaMask Users’ IP Addresses

    New day, new drama in the crypto mayhem. What now? In Consensys’ new privacy update, the blockchain technology company announced that Infura collects MetaMask users’ IP addresses. And everyone is pissed. Is any of this true or is it just another Twitter misunderstanding? It is correct. Allow me to elaborate. 

    What is Infura?

    First, what’s Infura and how is it related to MetaMask Users’ IPs? To lay out the groundwork for you, Consensys is the software company that developed MetaMask, one of the most popular crypto wallets. If you already use it, here’s a full article on how to secure it

    Infura

    Anyway, how does Infura come into the game? Infura is a set of tools and infrastructure that allow developers to easily take their blockchain application from testing to scaled deployment. And, MetaMask uses Infura as its Remote Procedure Call (RPC) provider. 

    RPC is what allows the establishment of the connection with the blockchain’s servers to perform various operations. This connection is useful for creating a transaction or interacting with a smart contract. Moreover, if you’ve ever sent tokens on the wrong network, you’ll need RPC to recover them.

    Does Infura collect MetaMask Users’ IP addresses?

    Short answer, yes. Long answer, on November 23rd ConSensys, published a privacy policy update. In the update, it specifically mentioned MetaMask and Infura. It noted that “when you use Infura as your default RPC provider in MetaMask, Infura will collect your IP address and your Ethereum wallet address when you send a transaction”.

    ConsenSys

    Yes, friends, Infura will totally collect your IPs through MetaMask. 

    People’s reactions to Infura collecting MetaMask Users’ IPs

    This enraged, full-on rage, users. Like what do you mean? Doesn’t this defy the purpose of the whole “decentralization” and “web3”? Like seriously, how is this any different from web2 platforms?

    Adam Cochran, partner at Cinneamhain Ventures, noted on Twitter that this is “yet another dumb move from Consensys.” Proceeding it by saying that “There is nothing more important than consumer privacy, especially when it comes to your financial data – you have a right to be anonymous.” 

    MetaMask says Users’ IP addresses are safe-ish

    Everyone’s freaking out about the security breach, then MetaMask says just use a different RPC and calm down. Huh? As I already said, Infura collects MetaMask users’ IP addresses because MetaMask uses it as an RPC provider. 

    In fact, in the same privacy policy update, Consensys noted that they won’t collect your IPs if you use a different RPC provider.

    MetaMask Users' IP addresses

    They also noted that this is just to clarify what they do with users’ data which is “nothing”.

    Moreover, Daniel Finlay, founder and group developer at Metamask, said that their goal is to have “as little data possible”. He also stated that other wallets collect much more data than MetaMask does. But, because MetaMask does collect data they thought it’s better to clarify than to their users. Moreover, he noted that this allows users to better protect their privacy through VPN and TOR.

    Moreover, Jacob, an advisor at MetaMask, noted that Infura doesn’t have any data deals. And, that “it does not monetize data in any way, unlike many of the public RPC services which do monetize data.” 

    Conclusion

    So, yes, Infura does indeed collect MetaMask users’ IP addresses, and no one’s happy. But, you can choose to look past this because Infura doesn’t monetize the data. Or, you can choose to use another RPC provider for MetaMask. Or, you can use another completely different wallet. At the end of the day, it’s all about personal preference and standpoints on this issue. 

    There’s one thing to consider is that MetaMask was clear. A lot of companies collect different users’ data without disclosing it or they straight-up lie about it. However, the crypto wallet company chose to be upfront with its users. If this is something that encourages you to support it, here’s how to create and manage a MetaMask account. 

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